Virtual Office Services: The Savvy Entrepreneurs’ Super Strategy for Saving on Business Cost!

Are you thinking of starting your own business but you don’t want to commit to some expensive office space right now?

Does the idea of running your business virtually, operating from wherever you wish, something that is interesting to you?

Then investing in virtual office services is what you should consider.

What Is A Virtual Office?

According to Wikipedia,

“A virtual office provides address (and sometimes communication) services for a fee, without providing dedicated office space. It differs from “office business centers” or “executive suites”, which do provide physical office space and/or meeting rooms.”

The idea of virtual office services developed from executive suites, which offer a full range of office services plus office space. It’s simply a modern invention which combines technology and smart use of resources. However, it must be noted that virtual office companies don’t offer their clients more office space.

Benefits of Virtual Offices

How Does A Virtual Office Work?

When you get a virtual office you’re getting a real business address with a lot of other real office facilities attached. You can put the business address on your business cards, letterheads and other company correspondence.

When prospective clients or customers desire information about your business and they call the dedicated line assigned to you, it will be answered and the message relayed to you.

Benefits of Virtual Office Companies

There are lots of benefits that virtual offices offer to business owners in our today’s world. But for this post we will only look at a few of them.

1. Easily Adapt To Your Company’s Busy Seasons

One of the best benefits of contracting with a virtual office company is the ability to easily adapt to your company’s busy seasons. A virtual office company, such as Solid Cactus, can easily adapt to finishing orders after business hours and on weekends. Solid Cactus, in ensuring that you do not miss any orders, can easily increase the number of hours and personnel assigned to your company.

They can also use ecommerce platforms to fill or fix orders. Using your company’s selected systems, Solid Cactus can easily complete all the paperwork required each day. They are able to provide you with reports on the orders they process for you.

If your business involves making appointments, Solid Cactus can handle this, too. They will schedule any home visits, deliveries or even luncheon appointments with your clients. They answer all telephone calls with a minimum of waiting and greet all customers in a professional manner.

Recommended: How Small Businesses Can Collaborate for Better Results

2. Work From Anywhere

Virtual offices give you the freedom of working from anywhere you choose.

This is great if you have always desired your own lifestyle business  – a business that allows you to travel the world, living the lifestyle of your dream, while you build your business.

This is the dream of many today as they now take advantage of the available technology and run their businesses on the go – without any physical office. So, if you’re a lifestyle business entrepreneur virtual office services are just great!

Work From Anywhere

3. Expand Your Business With Minimal Overheads

Every wise entrepreneur would readily jump at any growth opportunity. This is why many are also taking advantage of globalization, and the available technology, to spread their business tentacles to locations that were before now outside their reach.

Unfortunately, expanding to new locations comes with some extra cost. For example, you need things like office space and new equipment in the new location. But with the availability of virtual office services you don’t have to invest in a physical office space and whatever other material that is needed to run the office.

In fact, a virtual office company, like Solid Cactus as we have seen above, will help you run your business operations in the new location at a minimal cost to you.

4. Grow Your Business With Ease

A virtual office company is also a great way to grow your business. When you move into a new area or launch a new product, you can try it out without making permanent commitments to space and staffing. Using the services of a virtual office company you can pitch your products at your customers to find out if your customers like your product or not, whether they want it in a different color or in a different form.

So, don’t forget to investigate using a virtual office company like Solid Cactus to build your brand. Doing so is missing out on a great helpmate.

Recommended: Want to Motivate Your Employees? Try These 3 Simple Tricks

Some Specialized Services from Virtual Office Companies

Virtual Office Services

While virtual offices were initially about providing a real business office address and some services like receiving business calls and such like, these days many virtual office companies like Solid Cactus now offer business marketing services that will increase your sales. Some of these services include upselling, performing customer calls, and handling credit problems.

Because many business sales these days are concluded by email this has become one of the specialized services that virtual office companies like Solid Cactus also handles. Whatever your business’s email need, they will handle it all. As the owner, you can determine which items to return to you for further action. This way, you are kept abreast of any problems with your business.

Another specialized virtual office service that Solid Cactus offers is echat. This allows direct communication over the internet with your customers and the employees of Solid Cactus. Your customers don’t have to wait to have their questions answered anymore. And this is great for your business as excellent customer service is a known driver of sales to any company.

Recommended: How NOT to Make Life Difficult For Your Customers

Conclusion:

Virtual offices, and the services they provide, are growing in popularity by the day. This is because of the many benefits they offer businesses. This is in addition to the many changes happening in the economy. For example, the rise of internet businesses and the desire of many to work virtually. Used in conjunction with the available technology today they do not only save you money on rent but allow you to access valuable business services at a minimal cost.

So, whether you’re just getting started with your business and you want to save cost or you’re thinking of expanding to new locations, investing in some form of virtual office service is something you should consider.

How NOT to Make Life Difficult For Your Customers. Make Them Fall in Love with You!

Making the customer experience a pleasant one is something that many businesses take for granted. But this shouldn’t be.

You’ll agree that there are so many options open to the customer these days than we have had at any time in the history of mankind. Any business therefore that makes life more difficult for the customer instead of making it easier for them, do not realize what harm they are doing to themselves.

This might surprise you but it’s the truth all the same. According to a study some time past by Bain & Company, 60-80% of customers who reported being satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them!

This means beyond making a customer like you, you should aim at turning the customer into a promoter. And this can only happen when you make life easier for them.

Before now doing this has always been a problem because, like we have said already, customers have so many different choices. However, with the technological advances of our time businesses can now have a relationship that is “inter personal” with every single customer they serve.

So, do you desire a powerful customer experience? Then simply seek out ways to know how the life of a customer proceeds so you can make it easier for them instead of adding more to their complicated life situations.

Think about it. You are likely a customer yourself, at least in some small capacity. This means that you have at least a slight understanding about how consumer attitudes work, and how to improve them. As someone in the process of running a business, it pays to know how these things come together.

Making life difficult for your customers is easier than you think. Doing this can impede your potential revenue, and overall success as a firm.

How to Make Life easier for Your Customers

How to Make Life EASIER for Your Customers

1. Respect Your Customers

It’s so easy for businesses to fall into the ‘common denominator’ perspective of marketing. This might mean using overly catchy jingles within the scope of strange advertisement campaigns. It might mean the general dumbed-down branding your corporation uses. It might even mean how you expect your staff to interact with the customers they encounter. Customers in the modern-day expect a form of respect. This means respecting their intelligence.

Acting as a cool corporate mouthpiece is much more important than hammering your brand home as hard and wide as possible. If you manage to subtly market through allowing your customers to partake in ‘inside humor,’ a feeling of loyalty and crafting a narrative around your firm customers can feel included with, you have a much more refined strategy to forming and retaining customers.

2. Allow Them to Pay

It’s ridiculous to consider how many businesses might neglect overall maintenance over the acquisition and retention of funding.

Allow your consumers to pay. This means scheduling website maintenance and downtime for the lowest expected period of website traffic. It also means allowing for promotional deals and materials to be available around the heightened frequency of these times. It means making sure your credit card machines are in order and well functional at the very least.

Additionally, you could also develop incentives for customers to continually stick with your firm. There are so many choices online that the lack of care here might make you lose thousands in revenue.

Foster brand loyalty through excellent customer service, repeat and personalized promotional material, as well as hidden free extras. This way, purchasing power feels worth it, and it will certainly be directed towards you in the future.

Foster brand loyalty through excellent customer service

3. Support

You need to be active and aware regarding all support requests leveled towards you. This means sometimes investigating the difficulty a client is facing first and foremost.

Identifying issues might take time, and it might lead to nasty truths about your systematized business practices. Always looking for a solution and learning from the smallest issues could afford you potential BIG breaks in the future potential of your firm. It will also help you develop a corporate attitude in which the customer is key, and this is the cardinal rule of most successful firms.

Invest in your support as much as possible. It will grant you the keys to not only sustain your audience, but to develop a positive relationship there.

Conclusion

While creating a customer experience that is exceptional may be a huge challenge is however something that every business that desires good results must commit to. This is most important at a time like this when the customer wield enormous powers.

Using the above tips you can be sure that the interactions between you and your customer base will produce the results you crave for.

How to Turn Customer Pet Peeves into Your Advantage

As a business person you are aware that your business exist to create customers and, that involves doing a whole lot of things to keep the customer happy.

Unfortunately, there’s no way you’re going to please all of your customers all the time. In fact, if you try doing so, you’ll definitely go crazy!

While its easy to say that the customer is always right you’ll however agree that this can be taken too far by some. For example, like when a customer is always complaining all of the time.

It’s annoying right?

Indeed. it’s not a problem for customers to have issues with your business because there is none that doesn’t have complaining customers. But then there are some complaints that are an annoyance. What we have come to refer to as customer pet peeves! But what does that really means?

What Is A Customer Pet Peeve?

Annoying pet peeves

According to Vocabulary.com,

“A pet peeve is an annoyance that’s nurtured like a pet — it’s something someone can never resist complaining about.”

This means a customer pet peeve is something that the customer has nurtured like a pet and has turned into a frequent subject of complaint. No matter what you do as a business this customer has a way of finding faults and complaining about it!

Now, while this could be annoying you can actually turn such complaints into your business’ good. For example, you can use such complaints to provide you with insight that will help you improve your business, products and/or overall customer experience.

So, when your customers do complain, don’t take it that your company is bad or that it has some serious issues. Rather take it that your company is like any other – it has its own faults. And, instead of focusing on how you can eliminate these faults you should rather focus on how you can move forward and adjust.

To do this, you need to understand the issues customers might have with your business and find ways to avoid them. In this post I want to share with you some of the common customer pet peeves that you need to watch out for in your business.

How is your customer service?

4 Common Customer Pet Peeves to Watch Out For

1. Excuse Me, I’m Talking To You

If your Twitter feed is filled with customers complaining that they have no way to talk to your business or engage with you, you have a big problem. This suggests that there is no relationship between business and consumer.

If that’s the case, there’s a good chance that customers are going to feel undervalued and unimportant. They hate this, and they will have no issue spending their time spreading their thoughts and feelings to other people who may have otherwise taken a chance on your business.

Correcting this is easy. Make sure that you always have an open dialogue with your customers. If there are any issues even on social media feeds, respond to them promptly, and you will dazzle customers with your speedy responses to their issues.

2. Hey, What’s Taking So Long?

That probably means that you have a problem with your turnaround time and more broadly your supply chain. Perhaps you never took your supply chain management masters, and as such you don’t know how to keep things rapid and efficient.

If that’s the case, then you could correct this by taking an online course, but the main thing to focus on here is making sure you deliver the goods promptly and keep a high level of quality in your service.

Handling supply issues, companies often jump towards the possibility of an outsourcing business. It’s not the worst idea in the world, but you do need to make sure that you can trust the company you choose to handle things the right way. Otherwise, you’re just creating something else for customers to get irritated at.

Shocked And Appalled!

3. I Am Shocked And Appalled!

This isn’t so much as a pet peeve as it is something that will cause customers to scream ‘boycott’ at the top of their lungs.

Scandals in businesses are more uncommon than you think, but they do happen. If they hit the public spotlight or your consumer base gets word of them, it can have a crippling impact on sales.

To handle this issue, there’s a simple solution. Just make sure that you are doing what you can legally to stay on the right side of the line. Do this, and you shouldn’t have any issues with scandals taking town your company.

4. What A Rip Off

And finally, there’s the issue with prices. It’s not so much about how much you’re selling your products for but rather how much other people are selling theirs at. If your price isn’t competitive, you will struggle to keep customers on board and buying from your business.

So, do your research and make sure that a key competitor isn’t undercutting you.

Conclusion

Eliminating customer frustrations is a sure way to making your business more successful in the marketplace. If you note the above customer pet peeves and find ways of taking care of them then you can be sure of having more and more happy customers and of course, more success.

How to Decide What Marketing Channel to Focus on When You’re Just Getting Started

Decision making is a part of business success – it’s like laying the foundation upon which a house is to be built.

The decision you make either makes or mars your business. This is why it is important to get it right from the outset and once that is achieved every other thing falls into place.

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses crash even before taking off simply because something went wrong with their foundations – this usually as a result of choosing the wrong marketing channel.

Typically, as a brand new business that is starting for the first time, you need to observe the market properly before taking a leap to avoid crashing and losing all your investment.

It’s true that the field of marketing is filled with challenges, but you could lessen the problems if you know exactly what to do and where to start from.

Here’s the good news…

…Getting things right is not rocket science; you just have to know what marketing channels work for your type of business, and which one will be a waste of time and money. This will enable you to make an informed decision.

However, before we move ahead with this discussion, we need to understand first what marketing channels are.

What Are Marketing Channels?

Marketing Channels

Marketing channels are the various ways through which you can get in touch with your clients, customers, volunteers or donors. Some of the most popular channels used today are:

  1. Blogs or websites
  2. E-mail newsletters
  3. Print/direct mail
  4. Social media
  5. Etc.

All the channels when used well, can drive enormous amount of traffic to your site. However, there are three fundamental questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on which marketing channel to chose.

According to Neil Patel,

“By asking all three questions in order, we’ll get to the exact answer you’re looking for.”

Here are all three questions in order:

Who are your customers?

Where do they hang out?

What marketing channel should you start with to reach them?”

Who Are Your Customers?

Who are your customers?

First, it’s important to know who is going to patronize your service or buy your product. You can take a few easy steps to get to know your prospective customers.

Pick one person that is likely to buy your product as soon as you start. Let’s assume you want to start a motor mechanic workshop in Chicago. We can be more specific with the kind of cars you want to repair.

Let’s say you are starting a workshop for Toyota cars in Roscoe Village because that’s your place of abode, and you will be repairing the different models of Toyota cars in the area.

Now, your customer’s name is Tim. He is a businessman who also stays in Roscoe Village but does his business in Hyde Park, goes to the place about five times per week and drives a Toyota Camry (2015 model).

The business also takes him out to New York City once a week.

Now, we only used Tim to define who your ideal customer is. But Tim is not the only customer you’re targeting, but you’re also targeting other people driving any Toyota model in the area including Tim’s friends and families.

Where Do They Hang Out?

We already have an idea who your target customer is and the physical place he stays in. But that’s not enough; we need to know the places where he and his friends hang out online.

For this customer, his hanging place is the Toyota Community on Facebook, and you can also see many of his friends living in the same area in the same Facebook community.

What Marketing Channel Should You Employ To Reach Them?

User-Friendly Websites

Having known your customers and where they hang out, the next thing is to know the right marketing channel to use to reach them. Different marketing channels could be utilized, but you need to find out which one is best suited to your need.

Neil Patel advises that you should concentrate on one even though there could be more than one good channel at a time. He simply feels it’s better to know a channel, study it and master it in order to dominate it.

So, how do you go about this?

1. Start marketing where your customers are

Here’s the best thing to do.

Since you’ve already done your research on your customers, you should take the marketing right to where they are – right to their door steps.

In this case, you can start from the Facebook group where your customers are hanging out or to any other social network where you’ve been able to trace them. This way, it’s easy to market to the right person without much stress.

And since that’s the target audience, the likelihood of them buying from you or patronizing you will be quite high.

2. Start with “Hand-to-Hand” Guerilla Marketing

This is a great strategy that’s proven to work really fine. Sometimes, word of mouth marketing works like magic; nothing beats contacting people randomly (cold-calling) or walking up to them and convincing to believe in what you offer.

According to Eric Siu of ‘Singlegrain,’

“Almost always, without fail, the answer is hand-to-hand combat. It’s going out there knocking on doors, cold-calling and e-mailing people directly.”

A lot of companies adopt this strategy because their first 100 customers really matter.

However, getting it right with the first 100 customers equally means getting it right with the first 1000 customer, and the chain continues.

Unfortunately, starting with the first wrong 100 customers would eventually kill your business.

If you are testing a new product, it is easy to test it with the people around you to see if they would want it rather than hiring a developer for a huge sum of money to help with the research.

If the people turn out to love the product, they are likely to recommend it to their friends and family members.

3. Interview your audience to find out what marketing channels they prefer

This is another yet effective way of choosing your marketing channel. Since people of different age groups don’t fall for the same bait, it’s good to develop excellent communication skills that will enable you to reach each of the audiences with the right message targeted at them.

According to Valerie Neumark’s post on Rootid.com,

“Stakeholder interviews and surveys are an extremely effective way to learn more about your audience. At Rootid we prefer interviews, since you can “read between the lines” when chatting with people.”

6 Things To Think Of When Choosing a Marketing Channel

Target the right audience

There are six common questions you should ask before finally settling for a marketing channel.

The questions are:

1. What if two or more good marketing channels exist?

When two or more good channels exist, you can decide to choose just one. Don’t make things clumsy, and don’t try to carry too many things along at the same time.

Why should you choose one channel? This is because:

  1. It will be less expensive
  2. You can easily learn it
  3. Getting result with it is faster

2. How much is the cost of the channel?

Money is hard to get. So, when starting out, you need to consider cost. If you are presented with options, you have to go for the channel that would cost the least money to run.

If the money is not there, you can start with a free channel but consider other good marketing channels when you eventually have some money to invest.

3. How much time does the channel require?

Some marketing channels need more time than the others. For instance, it would take a longer time to compose an excellent blog post than it does to prepare and send out a direct mail or set up a campaign on Twitter. However, the channel you choose should depend on how much time is available at your disposal.

4. How long will it take to see results?

Getting a fast result means investing a bigger sum of money. The time it will take to get results on Twitter is faster, but it is cheaper to run a blog.

If you need the result quickly, it means spending more money on running campaigns on Twitter or any other reliable social media.

5. What’s the learning curve?

Whatever channel you choose would certainly take some time to learn. This is because, according to researchers, learning a new skill takes up to 10,000 hours.

In choosing a channel, therefore, you need to consider a channel that is easy to understand but capable of giving you the right result you need, at the right time.

However, investing a moderate amount of time in learning the marketing channel would be okay.

6. Some channels have hidden learning hurdles

You may end up learning some other skills before progressing to the real channel you have chosen to use.

For instance, to be able to use a blog for marketing, you may be required to learn SEO and content creation/marketing before you can do the blogging well.

To use Instagram for marketing, you may need first to learn what Instagram is all about. That may be what you never envisaged before choosing the channel.

Nevertheless, whatever amount of time you invest in learning the different foundational layers will eventually be a blessing to you in the long run.

Conclusion

To be able to market effectively to your audience, you need to know who they are, where they hang out, and the right marketing channel to use.

You must also remember that marketing requires investing time and money as well as learning one or two new skills.

When you see a channel, learn everything you can about it, master it and then add another. It is better to master a channel first and dominate it before adding another one to it. It is also important to ensure your hosting plan can carry all the traffic that will come to your site once your chosen marketing channel start yielding result.

Simple Tips for Choosing a Domain Name That Enhances Your Brand

A popular quote from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet reads thus:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.”

Indeed, a lovebird like Juliet may believe there was no difference if a rose were called by another name. However, it’s clear from the play’s outcome that a name indeed has far more meaning than may at first meet the eye. And if you’re thinking of picking a domain name for your brand, you should know that a name truly matters.

Whether you’re choosing a domain name for your new business or you’re just setting up a website for your already established brand, you should be fully aware that a positive first impression counts for a great deal. This is no truer than in the case of the first impression a new customer has of your business.

When potential customers first click on your ad, they need to go to a website that is filled with attractive visuals, rich in informative content, and stocked with all of the latest e-commerce features. However, before you can get to any of these details, you need to start at the beginning – a solid domain name.

Simple Tips for Choosing a Domain Name

Start Off on the Right Foot with a Great Domain Name

When it comes time to reserve domain name services, you need to make sure you are choosing the one that is right for your personal and professional needs. The name you choose for your domain will be one that will stick with you for a very long time.

Of course, you can change it by changing your site, but this involves a great deal of time, effort, and sheer hassle. It’s better to get off on the right foot by choosing a domain name that you and your customers can be happy with. This may involve quite a bit of thought on your part in order to get this detail absolutely right.

How to Choose a Domain Name for Your Business Branding

There are several elements that come together to make up a really great domain name.

To begin with, it helps to choose a name that is short, snappy, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. You want to choose a domain name that reflects the best part of your business in the most positive light.

You’ll want your name to conjure up an image of the industry you are in. Finally, it’s best to choose a name that is light, humorous, and memorable without being too cute or instantly dated.

Choose a Domain Name that is available

After You Choose Your Domain Name, Make Sure It’s Available

After you make your final choice regarding your domain name, the logical next step will be to make sure that it is free and available. You can use a domain name registry checker to ensure that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s intellectual property.

The last thing any new business needs is a nasty lawsuit over copyright infringement. If your name is identical or too similar to someone else’s, you will need to come up with a new one in order to avoid a long series of suits that you are bound to lose.

Get Assistance from Domain Name Services Providers

There’s no doubt that choosing a domain name these days could be a tasking endeavor for both startups and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. While on one hand the common and popular .com names have been taken on the other hand, new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) have recently entered into the market making it a difficult task to decide on the right one to pick.

To avoid making mistakes, it’s an excellent idea to get in touch with a professional domain name services provider as soon as possible when you’re thinking of get one for your business. This way, you can receive excellent advice and counsel concerning how to choose and register your domain name.

Domain Name Services Providers

Conclusion

Your website domain name is a huge investment for your business whatever way you look at it. It is the bedrock for your business’ online presence. It defines you and what you stand for as a business and it provides the doorway for potential customers to find you online. Just as your business name and brand identify you in the marketplace so also your domain name identifies you online. It’s important therefore that you choose your domain name with care.

If you are ready to take the plunge into the exciting and lucrative world of online business then you’ll do yourself good to get across to professionals who can help you choose the right one.

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Fail-Proof Business Launch: 4 Dangers to Avoid If You MUST Succeed!

Business launches are becoming very popular events in recent times. While many new businesses are launching by the day the stats remains alarming since most new business startups end in failure despite the euphoria of the launch event.

One thing for sure is the fact that launching a new business or product these days don’t have to eat deep into your budget. But if you must succeed with your business launch there’s the need to put in a lot of planning and strategizing. Laying a solid foundation for the launch is very important. But more important is ensuring that your goals for the business launch are realized.

Once you have decided on a date for your business or product launch, you need to be aware of one particular thing: the clock is ticking. For sure, failing to meet your self-imposed deadline won’t necessarily kill your business stone-dead, but the chances are that it will end up on a life support machine. You don’t want this to happen to your business, right?

So, how do you avoid this from happening?

To combat the many different issues a bad launch can cause, it’s vital that you:

a) Set an achievable date, and

b) Ensure that nothing stands in the way of your product launch.

The following are a few of the dangers that could stall your launch, and ruin your business before you even get it off the ground.

Fail-Proof Business Launch

Business Launch Dangers to Avoid

1. No Plan For Growth

It’s all well and good putting your product or business out there based on estimations. But the reality of the market is that you just don’t know how successful/unsuccessful you will be. And there are inherent problems with both results.

If you are unsuccessful, it’s going to be difficult to pull things around, but if you are wildly successful, you will need a plan in place to help you steer through the demands of rapid growth. Ultimately, that could lead to shambolic disaster, so you must have an idea of how to manage it.

2. Dishonesty

Make sure that your product does everything it says on the tin. Dishonesty – or even overestimating the quality of your product – will only result in abject failure, low expectations, and a huge disappointment for your ideal target audience. Given it is these people you will rely on to spread the word about your business or product, you want to give them the best possible experience, and never overshoot your claims or promises.

3. Lack of Testing

There will always be little kinks and issues with newly-launched products – and most customers will forgive you the odd slip-up, particularly when it comes to ironing out software bugs in a technology product. But make no mistake about it, if you haven’t been testing your ideas well beforehand, your idea could sink before it even gets a decent shot at success.

Look into JIRA testing, focus groups, and test out your prototypes to the nth degree. Make sure that you iron out all those major kinks, or you will learn to regret it.

4. Lack of Differential

The vast majority of new businesses and products are very similar to those already on the market. And unless you are different, the chances of a successful launch and growth are slim.

Make sure you know exactly what your differential is, and that you can explain it to your customers. If you don’t know how you are different, how can you expect your market to understand?

Business Launch

5. No Market

Finally, if you don’t have a market for your business or product, don’t expect to grow one from nothing. The most important questions to answer before you launch are: ‘Who will buy this?’ and ‘How much will they pay?’ If you can’t answer either, you have no business – it’s as simple as that.

Conclusion

Launching a new business or product takes more than just setting a date or creating the buzz. You will need to sit down and plan the launch event. Determine your goals for the launch, understand who your target audience is and what they want and then ensure that you deliver your promise.

Planning a product or business launch or have you’re launched a product? What other tips do you think will help ensure a flawless launch? Share with us in your comment below.

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Want to Motivate Your Employees? Try These 3 Simple Tricks

Employees are an important part of any business. It doesn’t matter what industry your business is serving. When your employees are motivated enough they will always put in their best and your company will be the best for it.

Unfortunately, this is one area that many have find to be really hard when it comes to running a business. Keeping their staff motivated enough to keep things interesting is challenging. But one thing is sure even if your workforce is passionate about your industry it doesn’t take long before the repetitiveness of the 9 to 5 schedule starts to wear away at the passion and determination of the employees. This is especially so if they’ve been working on the same project for a long time and repeating the same tasks day in and out.

Once your employees feel disengaged with the organization productivity is bound to drop. When this happens, sales will definitely drop also and you can be sure that from that point onward it will be a slippery slope downwards. It doesn’t matter whether you have a workforce full of intelligent and experienced individuals.

Quotes on Motivating Employees

Motivate Employes to increase productivity

Here are some selected “motivating employees quotes” that will help you understand the important role this can play in any organization.

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” – Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic

You can say every one of them is right in every way right? So, how can you put a smile on the face of your staff so they can be motivated again? How can you relight that fire and passion in their eyes once more? In short, how do you keep your employees motivated in order to increase productivity?

Satisfied employess

Fact is, as a small business there are simple ways to motivate employees and increase productivity without spending a lot of money. Below are some practical ways that have been proven to work wonders.

3 Simple Ways to Motivate Employees to Increase Productivity

1. Offer Incentives

The best way to keep your employees engaged at work is to switch things up. You need to incentivize your workers to try harder and a new objective is a great way to achieve this. Simply stating that the business has a new plan or a new project on offer isn’t enough; you need to let your employees know how the company is making changes to benefit them.

Money is a huge incentive, obviously, and offering rewards in the form of bonuses for those who make the most sales or perhaps even offering a promotion for the top seller of the month are both ways in which you could offer a chance for progression and change within the company. It’ll certainly motivate your staff again.

Incentivize performance

2. Create A Nicer Workplace

Whether at work or at home, we are affected by our surroundings. You likely didn’t need anyone to tell you that, but it might be time to take another look at the workplace in which your business is situated. Does it look appealing? An uninspired working environment will lead to uninspired workers, so it might be time to create a nicer workplace if you want to lift the mood amongst your workforce.

You could browse through office cubicle options online if you’re stumped as to where to begin with your office redesign. Much like interior design at home, you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to improving the workplace; simply put some thought into warmer lighting, brighter colors, and perhaps a more exciting break room with a TV or table football for employees to enjoy.

Create A Nicer Workplace

3. Provide Training Opportunities

Your workers want to feel as if you’re invested in them, and taking the time to train your employees so that they can achieve more shows that you value their contribution to your business and you want them to stick around. It might also show that you see the potential for workers to progress up through the ranks of the company and you want to prepare their knowledge and skill set for that opportunity.

Conclusion

Ultimately, motivating your employees to get the best out of them is simply by treating them as humans and not some machines or piece of software. Make them feel wanted and appreciated and you would have given them enough motivation that will result in more productivity for your business. Simon Sinek, quoted above, definitely was right when he said, “When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

So, what do you say? What are your top tips for motivating employees in the workplace for increased productivity? How about watching this short video for some ideas?

Share your thoughts in your comments below.

3 Incredibly Clever Ways Small Businesses Can Make More Money Online

As a small business entrepreneur are you looking for ways to make more money from your business without unnecessarily adding to your cost? Then this article is for you.

Frankly, many small business owners think that it’s easy to make your business a success online. But that’s not true at all. Fact is, it’s easy to setup a new business online but it’s not so easy to make it a success. There are a lot of high scale problems that might just confront you. These include, lack of attention or a more popular competitor taking all the business.

Besides, it’s possible that all the customers that you want are already buying the product that you offer from another business. And of course when this happens you can never see the type of profits you’d like to from your online company.

The question therefore is, how can you make your business more profitable online and transform a dwindling model into a money making machine?

While there are different profit making opportunities you can apply to take care of the situation I have the following to be truly outstanding. These simple ideas will help you make more money with your business without spending a lot of money to do it.

Clever ways to make more more with your small business

Simple Ideas to Make Money with Your Small Business Online

1. Increase Opportunities

Perhaps one of the best ways to make your business more profitable online is to ensure that customers have as many options as possible to buy.

To do this, you need to think about more than just your website or social media but rather what type of device your customer might be using. For instance, you might find that the majority of your customers are viewing your site on a mobile device. If that’s the case, it’s important that you ensure your site still works effectively when viewed on mobile devices. To do this, you need to make sure that it is mobile responsive.

Any top digital agency can arrange this for you and ensure that there’s no problems with a lost audience because they can’t view your site. Don’t forget this year Google have started penalizing site owners for not being mobile responsive. This should tell you how important it is.

Apps are important too. With the right app, you can get the attention of customers and ensure that they want to buy from your business. It’s important that the app is fun and easy to use.

You can also make sure that it has Third Party SDK Integrations. With this type of design, your app can connect to other areas of your business campaign. Due to this, customers will find it easier to get from one area to the other.

They can also use the app to check for updates from other areas of your campaign such as your Twitter. However, the most important thing about your app is it is fun and easy to use. If it isn’t, customers won’t keep it on their phone long enough for you to see an impact.

Make mobile buying easier on your site

2. Make Buying Easy

Next, you need to think about making buying for customers as easy as possible. It’s crucial that your customers can find the product they want and buy it immediately without delay.

The trick to making sure purchases are fast and easy is great security. If you have all the available security measures in place, you can get customers through as quickly as possible. You can even have ID systems that mean they don’t have to log in. Instead, the site remembers them, and one-click purchasing is possible.

You can also look at social media buy buttons. Rather than social content pushing customers towards your site, you can instead get them to buy right then and there. That way, there’s no chance of losing customers who didn’t follow the link. Or, who didn’t have time to click from one site to the next. It streamlines the purchase process, making things simple for you and the customer.

Make buying easier on your sitess

3. Expand Your Reach

If you expand your reach online, you can boost your customer numbers and reach a wider audience. This, in turn, will lead to higher levels of profit.

So, how do you boost your reach as a business owner?

Well, the simplest option is to make sure that you are constantly looking at ways to improve your marketing campaign. For instance, you should think about working on the quality of your content. Remember, quality is always going to be more important than quantity and will actually lead to a larger audience.

You might think that the best way to attract more people is to release as much content as possible. That’s not the case at all. In fact, you’re more likely to get increased interest if the content is shared more and that will happen if it’s a quality product. Therefore a little greatness will pay off a lot more than a ton of shoddy work.

It’s also possible to boost the reach of your business with new business partnerships. Look for a company that isn’t directly competing with you but shares the same market. You can then work together to create one massive marketing campaign that makes an impact.

Expand your business reach

Conclusion

In concluding this piece I will want to say that gone are the days when business owners were wondering if they should move their businesses online. Marketing your small business online is the best decision you have made but today that is not enough. The competition is increasing by the day. It is important therefore that you find out different ways to make more money from running that business online. Implement these simple but clever ways and you’ll see your business profits soar in no time at all.

Simple Proven Ways for Making Your Customer Experience Unparalleled

The saying that satisfied tell three friends and an angry customer tells 3,000 friends has indeed made the topic of customer experience (CX) one of the hottest topics in the in recent times. And it should because no matter how good the product you’re selling or how talented you may be, the most lasting impression the customer will have of your is the direct interaction they have with you.

In these days of the internet and , this is crucial. Your is only a click away. Except your customer service creates that experience that will make the customer to want to continue doing business with you, they could easily defect to your competition. Of course, you don’t want this to happen. Therefore, making your customer’s experience with you unparalleled is key to your success.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in focusing on the customer is absolutely crucial to getting the results you’re hoping for. The best way to do this is to improve the customer’s experience. Let me offer you a few different ways you can ensure they’re getting the experience they deserve.

1. Train Your Staff and Keep Them Happy

When you have well trained, happy staff, you’re going to have happy customers. Your customers will be able to tell whether your staff are happy or not, as it’ll show in the kind of service they receive. Make sure you do what you can to keep your staff happy, and the customer experience should follow.

Showing your staff that you’re interested in their development can help, and of course making the work environment a great place for them to be.

Offering bonuses and things could also be a good idea.

2. Aim To Resolve Issues In A Timely Manner

If your customers have any issues, aim to resolve them in a timely manner. It can take a lot to rectify, depending on the seriousness of the situation.

Do whatever you can to make them feel like they have had their problem resolved.

Recommended: 5 Simple Ways You Can Build A Cult-Like Following Around Your Brand!

3. Offer Support

After working with you, make sure you offer your customers support. They may need more help and advice. Customers don’t just come to you for your product or service. It’s the overall experience!

Here’s an infograghic with some more information that could help you figure things out:


Infographic Produced By Red Stag Fulfillment

Over to you: What are your thoughts on this infographic? What more tips can you offer to help improve the customer experience? Or have you any personal story on customer experience you want to share with us?

Feel free to bare with your mind in your comments below.

How to Succeed with Inbound Marketing in 5 Easy Steps!

Do you do inbound marketinging? If so, do you really understanding what inbound is all about?

Indeed, in the recent past incound marketingas a marketing word has become a buzz among internet marketers and, especially bloggers. Corned by the good folks at HubSpot.com the term has become for many, the internet marketing magic wand you need to succeed widely on the net!

Of course, I wouldn’t doubt that. However, it’s rather unfortunate that of those talking, only a few really know what inbound marketing is. On various occasions I have heard many of these self proclaimed ‘ experts’ refer to marketing as one and the same as inbound marketing!

Of course, the two terms can definitely be used interchangeably but, is inbound marketing all about content marketing?

Can simply creating and distributing content online with the mind of selling a product or service be referred to as an inbound marketing?

In this blog article, I aim to clear some of the misconceptions about inbound marketing. If you are considering marketing your online using inbound marketing or you are somehow already doing so, the following information will help you better understand and effectively implement this marketing strategy that is taking the internet by storm!

Understanding the concept of inbound marketing

Now, I must say that ever before HubSpot came about the word “inbound marketing” and many online marketers jumped at the it, I have been working with the concept of inbound marketing. This is because right from my early days on the net I read a book, “The Affiliate Marketing Masters” that laid out this concept despite the fact that it never called it that.

But the foundational knowledge I got from that ebook has always formed the basis of my marketing strategy. The concept is based on the fact that people go online not to be sold to but to get information. As a marketer therefore, all you need to do is to position your brand, product or service as the go-to expert for the needed information. By so doing, you would be attracting the right prospects and instead of chasing them!

This is why inbound marketing is also referred to as “pull marketing” as opposed to the traditional “push marketing”!

With that being said, et’s have a working definition of the term “inbound marketing”.

What Really Is Inbound Marketing?

Here’s what Wikipedia.com has to say about inbound marekting:

“Inbound marketing is the promotion of a company or other organization through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, , physical products, marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel.”

And HubSpot.com, the people generally accepted as corning the term “inbound marketing”, has this to say:

“Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.”

Simply put, inbound marketing is a general term for different marketing techniques that are combined into an overall marketing plan to produce outstanding results.

Now, the key to understanding this definition is the word COMBINED.  You must understand that these techniques are “combined” not “strung” together.

Before now, marketers using what is now referred to as outbound marketing, adopted fragmented techniques like print advertising, internet advertising, PR, cold calling, etc. in an attempt to boost sales.

The intent then was to reach as many prospects as possible. It doesn’t matter to the outbound marketer if the prospect needed that product or service at that very moment. It was simply about pushing out different marketing messages with the mind of seeing which one would stick!

Now, that strategy was nothing but the old “foot-in-the-door sales technique” when you go knocking on doors and ‘forcing’ yourself into the homes of prospective clients, trying to convince them of how wonderful your product is!

Recommended: Top 3 Reasons Why Content Marketing Will Fail You!

Indeed, outbound marketing was nothing but a hit and miss affair!

Inbound marketing, on the other hand, puts the focus on the prospect/customer instead of your product, service or company. Instead of using some clever hard sell tactics to get the sale from the reluctant and indifferent prospects or customers, you position yourself and make the business come to you.

How to Succeed with Inbound Marketing

Steps to inbound marketing success

To succeed with inbound marketing, there are certain fundametnal steps you need to take. If you understand this and follow through with these steps you can be sure of succeeding as an inbound marketer.

Here are the 5 simple steps to creating a successful inbound marekting strategy:

1. Listening

Every successful inbound marketing campaign begins with research. You need to know what the demand is and where it is coming from. Creating your inbound marketing content without any research is nothing but operating with the outbound marketing mindset.

You need to research what you competition is doing, what your prospects and customers need and what they are saying about you, your product or service.

The good thing is that you don’t have to look far as the internet has a lot to offer you about this research. You can use the search engines and keyword tools to know what your target audience are asking or looking for.

Social media sites come handy here also.

Now, whenever I hear anyone, SEO is dead while proclaiming to be an inbound marketer, I immediately know that that person have a wrong understanding of what inbound marketing is.

SEO is simply one of the old techniques that is necessary in inbound marketing. SEO helps you to produce the ‘right’ content that will help you attract the right prospect based on your research.

I do not just recommend understanding the basics of SEO as an inbound marketer because I am an SEO web content writer but because it is really the bedrock of creating the right content for your inbound marketing campaign.

2. Producing

As mentioned above, once you have listened and understood what your existing and prospective customers’ needs are from the conversations they are having online, your next move is to produce content that address those needs.

You should aim to be the go-to-resource by positioning yourself as a voice and authority in your industry. This way, prospective clients or customers will be attracted to you instead of you running after them.

It is important to note that creating quality and useful content that engages the attention of your prospects and customers is actually the most vital part of your inbound marketing strategy. It is what truly drives the inbound marketing wheel. This is why many see content marketing as one and the same as inbound marketing!

It is important therefore that as a business if you are hard up on time or you simply lack the in-house resources to create valuable web content, you mustn’t hesitate in hiring professional content writers since this will pay handsome dividend in the long run.

3. Engage

Inbound marketing is not a one-way traffic. It is not just about listening and producing quality content. That is nothing but ‘old school’ outbound marketing.

Working with what you know about your target audience in your research and using your content as a launching pad, you should move beyond that and aim to know them more ‘intimately’. Engage with them in order to gain their trust.

One effective way to do this is through social media. With social media you can spark a two-way conversation with your prospects/customers. Facebook is big right now. Take advantage of it.

There are tools that will help you set up keyword alerts to notify you of discussions about you and your product or service. One such service is Google alerts.

Email marketing is another old technique that you can use. Initiate the conversation on social media and then find a way of also getting them on your email list where you work on developing the relationship.

Recommended: The 3 Scientific Steps to Using Social Media for Online Selling!

You may also want to download my Facebook marketing guide. Click here to download!

4. Transform

The ultimate aim of marketing is actually the resultant sale. Prospects and website visitors need to be converted into leads while leads must be converted to customers.

Through your engagement and lead nurturing, you expertly move every prospect through the buying cycle and ensure that when they are ready to buy, you will definitely be the ultimate choice!

This demands creating more and different types of content focused on the different stages of the buying cycle. Work with your insights and interactions and create the right type of content required.

At this stage you definitely need an email management system to drive your engagement and lead nurturing. There’s no better way to do this than through and autoresponder like GetResponse.com.

5. Grooming

Effectively engage with your prospects

If you have been online for some time By now, you already know that things change easily and quickly online. This calls for a constant improvement of your inbound marketing strategy. You should continuously analyze, track and ensure your content is updated to keep leads, not only engaged but also to remain loyal to your brand.
Continuously improve on your offerings to stay on top of what is working.

Simply put, rinse and repeat!

Conclusion

From the above you will understand that content is the bedrock of inbound marketing. This accounts for why many see content marketing as one and the same with inbound marketing. But as you have seen, inbound marketing is actually more than content marketing.

Nevertheless, for you to TRULY succeed with your inbound marketing strategy, you need not just content but high quality content. If, as a business, you lack in house expertise on content creation the better route to take is to get quality professional SEO content writers to help you with your web content.

Over to you: Let’s have your thoughts on how to succeed with inbound marketing in your comments below.

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